Mar 6, 2007

BBC and the clash civilizations!

You must have heard about the Moroccan journalists accused of "defaming Islam and damaging morality". I've read the jokes that sparked the controversy, as a Muslim I thought they were at best tasteless and offensive. But I also forwarded the link to two Muslim friends of mine, a British and an Australian, and they felt the same.

But I'm offended more by the Moroccan government who is using Islam to silence its westernized critics and the threat of extremism to imprison and torture their opponents.

But I guess the trophy goes to the BBC, which took upon itself to put the story into a neat, civilizational context:
So now the judges in particular and Morocco in general have a choice. And it is not an easy one. Do they side with liberal values and win the admiration of Western democracies, or do they uphold their Islamic traditions and receive the backing of most of the Arab world? But laughter, like freedom, the journalists said, could not be suppressed.
So here you've it, it's either "liberal values" or "Islamic traditions" and the backing of either "Western democracies" or the "arab world". How lame?

1 comment:

eatbees said...

(Hello! I found your blog through Technorati, because you linked to mine.) I agree with most of what you say here. "Tasteless and offensive"? -- it depends. Most Moroccans would agree with you, but there are others who see nothing unusual about these jokes, and still others who think they are fine to tell in private, but not the thing to put on newstands. "The Moroccan government is using Islam to silence its westernized critics" -- here I agree completely, though not even a lot of Moroccans see it this way. The defenders of Nichane, westernized themselves, tend to blame the Islamists for starting the outcry, instead of showing how Islam was misused by an autocratic State. Finally, I agree completely with your point about the BBC. This sort of "either/or" stereotyping is a shame, and is one of the big reasons the West has trouble seeing the Islamic world for what it is, complex, contradictory and alive, like any collection of humans! Someone should tell the BBC the 20th century is over (not to mention the 19th century), so it is time to stop seeing non-Western cultures as the irreducible Other.